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Proceedings of the International Conference on
Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction:
Capturing Opportunities in Forest Harvesting and
Wood Processing for the Benefit of the Poor

Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

3-6 October 2006

Edited by
Robert Oberndorf
Patrick Durst
Sango Mahanty
Kenneth Burslem
Regan Suzuki

RECOFTC Report No.19

The designation and presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion
whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Regional Community
Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) or SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation)
concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation
of its frontiers and boundaries.
All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or
other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders
provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for sale or other
commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such
permission should be addressed to Patrick Durst, Senior Forestry Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific, Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Atit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand ( or Dr Yam Malla,
Executive Director, RECOFTC, Kasetsart University, PO Box 1111, Bangkok 10930, Thailand (

Citation: Oberndorf, R., P. Durst, S. Mahanty, K. Burslem and R. Suzuki, 2007. A Cut for the
Poor. Proceedings of the International Conference on Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction:
Capturing Opportunities in Forest Harvesting and Wood Processing for the Benefit of the Poor.
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam 3-6 October 2006, FAO RAP publication number and RECOFTC
Report No. 19, FAO and RECOFTC, Bangkok.
ISBN 978-974-7946-97-0
Cover design and layout by Somchai Singsa

FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
39 Phra Atit Road,
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
+66 (0) 2 -697 4000
+66 (0)2 -697 4445
Regional Community Forestry Training Center
for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC)
PO Box 1111 Kasetsart University
Bangkok 10903, Thailand
+66 (0)2 940 5700
+66 (0)2 561 4880
SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation)
6th Floor, Building B, La Thanh Hotel
218 Doi Can, Ba Dinh
Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 (0)4 846 3971
+84 (0)4 846 3794

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) leads international
efforts to defeat hunger by helping countries improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries
practices and ensuring good nutrition for all. FAO is also a leading source of knowledge and
information on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and acts as a neutral forum where all
nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAOs mission in forestry
is to enhance human well-being through support to member countries in the sustainable
management of the worlds trees and forests.
The Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) is an
international not-for-profit organization based in Bangkok, Thailand, that supports community
forestry and community-based natural resource management. RECOFTC receives core funding
from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through
strategic partnerships and collaboration with governmental and non-governmental institutions,
programs, projects and networks, RECOFTC aims to enhance capacity at all levels and promote
constructive multi-stakeholder dialogues and interactions to ensure equitable and sustainable
management of forest resources.
SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation) is a Netherlands-based international NGO that
delivers capacity building advisory services to over 1,800 clients in 33 countries in Africa,
Asia, Latin America and the Balkans. In Asia, SNV provides capacity building services to
government, non-government and private sector organizations in Nepal, Viet Nam, Bhutan, Lao
Peoples Democratic Republic, Cambodia and Bangladesh, as well as to a number of regional
organizations and networks. SNV aims to achieve development results in two areas: (1) basic
services delivery (water & sanitation, energy, health and education); and (2) production,
income and job creation. Our niche in specific sub sectors (such as pro-poor tourism, NonTimber Forest Products, biogas sector development, clean development mechanism, value
chain development and participatory planning) is widely recognized and closely linked to
National Development Strategies.


of Contents





List of Commonly cited Acronyms and Abbreviations


Conference Declaration

Opening Statements

Welcome Speech by Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Director-General,

Department of Forestry Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development of Viet nam


Statement by Emmanuel Ze Meka, Assistant Director,

Reforestation and Forest Management, International Tropical Timber
Organization (ITTO), Yokohama, Japan


Statement by Patrick B. Durst, Senior Forestry Officer,

Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations


Chapter 1

Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction: Key Concepts

and Conference Overview
Hansen, Durst, Mahanty and Ebregt

Section 1: Setting the Scene

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Big Trees for Little People: Managing Forests for

Poverty Reduction





Section 2: Policies and legislation

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Local and Decentralized Forest Management in Cameroon:

The Case of the Kongo Community Forest
Cuny, Ango and Ondoa


Forest Harvesting in Community-Based Forest Management

In the Philippines: Simple Tools Versus Complex Procedures
Dugan and Pulhin


Community Forest Management (CFM) in Viet Nam:

Sustainable Forest Management and Benefit Sharing
Bao Huy


Section 3: Economic issues

Capture 7

Chapter 8

Unlocking the Value of Pine Forests for Sustainable

Livelihoods: A Case Study from Hile Jaljale Ka Community
Forest in Kabhre Palanchok District of Nepal
Chand and Ghimire


Managing the Risks of Community-based Processing:

Lessons from two Community-based Sawmills in Nepal
Kelly and Aryal


Chapter 9

Can Timber Rents Better Contribute to Poverty Alleviation

Through Community Forestry in the Terai Region of Nepal?
Bampton and Cammaert


Section 4: Forest management modalities and institutional issues

Chapter 10 Small Wood-based Enterprises in Community Forestry:
Contributing to Poverty Reduction in Nepal
Acharya and Acharya


Chapter 11 Community Forestry: Supporting Bhutans National

and MDG Goals While Protecting Forests
Temphel and Beukeboom


Chapter 12 Sharing the wealth? A case study of a pioneering

community-based timber harvesting operation in Central Viet Nam
Vickers and Mackenzie
Section 5: Technical aspects
Chapter 13 Appropriate Forest Harvesting and Transport Technologies
for Village-based Production of Bamboo Charcoal in
Mountainous Areas of Northern Lao PDR


Chapter 14 Processing Lumber with Chainsaws: Relevance for

Households in the Forest Zone of Ghana
Pinard, Adam, Cobbinah, Nutukor, Damnyang, Nyarko, Nketiah, Boatang and


Chapter 15 Capturing Opportunities in Forest Harvesting and

Processing to Benefit the Poor in Papua New Guinea


Section 6: Accessing markets

Chapter 16 Forest to Finished Flooring from the Family Farm


Chapter 17 Old-World Craft Promotes Third-World Development:

Community Forestry Meets Appropriate Technology


Chapter 18 The Role of Small and Medium Forest Enterprise

Associations in Reducing Poverty


Chapter 19 The Role of Small and Medium Forest Enterprise

Associations in Reducing Poverty


Chapter 20 New Bamboo Industries and Pro-Poor Impacts: Lessons

from China and Potential for Mekong Countries
Marsh and Smith


List of Contributors


List of Participants



Approximately one-third of the worlds 4 billion hectares of forests are managed primarily
for the production of wood and other forest products (FAO 2005). Timber production often
conjures images of capital intensive operations, big machines and large profits for a small
handful of people. With poverty rates often being highest in forested areas, we thought it
timely to initiate further discussion on how timber production from forests can be better
harnessed for poverty reduction, particularly the role of small-scale commercial forestry in
opening opportunities for the poor to benefit from forest harvesting and wood processing.
The idea for a conference was discussed initially by the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO), the Regional Community Forestry and Training Center for Asia
and the Pacific (RECOFTC) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV). Many other
interested parties joined this discussion, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development of Viet Nam, who hosted the conference, the Tropical Forest Trust (TFT),
the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC).
Generous funding was provided by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and
the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate-General for International Cooperation
The conference aimed to:
1. Review technical, economic, institutional and policy aspects of small-scale and laborintensive forest management practices and wood processing with regard to their
impacts on the poor and their potential for reducing poverty.
2. Identify constraints to, and opportunities for, managing forests and processing
activities with poverty alleviation as an explicit objective in Asia and the Pacific.
3. Establish a task force that will develop a strategic plan for promoting forest
management for poverty alleviation by encouraging support for small-scale forest and
labor-intensive forest management practices and wood processing.
The program was developed to engage a large number of resource persons to elaborate
experiences in the field of poverty reduction through small-scale timber production. The
conference was centered around five sessions, focusing respectively on policies and legislation,
economic issues, institutional issues, and technical aspects of small-scale timber production.
The sharing of experiences from Latin America, Africa and Asia made the conference a truly
international event.
The conference brought together the emerging themes into a declaration that targets key
areas for attention by policy makers, the private sector, practitioners and communities.
The challenge now is to take forward the agenda and ideas for further action defined at
the Ho Chi Minh City Conference. We look forward to working with our many partners in the
region to make this a reality.

Dr He Changchui
FAO Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for
Asia and the Pacific

Dr Yam Malla
Executive Director
Regional Community Forestry Training Center for
Asia and the Pacific



he International Conference on Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction: Capturing

Opportunities in Forest Harvesting and Wood Processing for the Benefit of the Poor, would
not have been possible without the energy and dedication of a core group of people, who
jointly conceptualized, developed and organized the conference. These include: Thomas Enters,
Patrick Durst and Pernille Lausen Hansen (FAO), Sango Mahanty (RECOFTC), Arthur Ebregt (SNV)
Simon Greenaway and Vu Nam (TFT), and Pham Minh Thoa (MARD).
Staff from SNV (Pham Thu Hang), RECOFTC (Wallaya Pinprayoon and Boontida Moungsrimuangdee)
and FAO (Pernille Lausen Hansen) provided logistical and administrative support to facilitate
participants travel, prepare supporting materials, and coordinate program arrangements.
Viet Nam was an excellent venue for the conference. The support of the Department of Forestry
(DoF), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam (MARD) in hosting the event was
greatly appreciated, in particular the Director General of DoF, Nguyen Ngoc Binh and his colleagues
Pham Minh Thoa, Vo Dinh Tuyen, Do Tien Dzung, Trinh Thi Thanh Ha, Kim Thi Kieu Anh and Bui Tuan
Giang of DoF, and the Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department of MARD, Tran Kim
Long and his colleagues Pham Trong Hien and Nguyen Thi Luan.
The engagement of our MARD colleagues helped to create a positive atmosphere for discussion and
to arrange a good selection of field trips for participants, with the valuable cooperation and support
of the Sub-Department of Forestry of Ho Chi Minh City, Can Gio Reserve Zone in Ho Chi Minh City,
Tan Mai Paper Company in Dong Nai Province, Nam Trung Joint Stock Company and Long Viet Joint
Stock Company in Binh Duong Province. Support for the field trips was also provided by Catherine
Mackenzie and Harm Duiker (SNV), and Vu Nam (TFT).
The conference included many stimulating presentations by a wide range of resource persons who
generously shared their experiences with the participants. Katherine Warner (IUCN) and Gary
Dunning (TFD) did an excellent job in setting the scene for discussion on the days that followed
with their keynote addresses. We also thank all of the other presenters: Pascal Cuny (SNV),
Patrick C. Dugan (Bagong Pagasa Foundation) and Juan Pulhin (University of Los Banos), Bao Huy
(Tay Nguyen University), Steve Gretzinger (WWF), Padam Chand and K.B. Ghimiri (former NepalAustralia Community Resource Management and Livelihoods Programme), Mark Kelly (URS Forestry),
James Bampton (DFID Livelihoods and Forestry Programme), Krishna Acharya (Department of Forest
Research and Survey), Hans Beukeboom (Helvetas), Ben Vickers (SNV), Bernhard Mohns (LaoGerman Programme on Rural Development), Michelle Pinard (University of Aberdeen), Anda Akivi
(PNG Forest Research Institute), Jim Birkemeier (Timbergreen Forestry), Scott Landis (GreenWood),
Duncan Macqueen (IIED), Robin Barr (TFT), Christoph Muziol (SPC/GTZ Pacific-German Regional
Forestry Project) and John Marsh (Oxfam). Thanks also to Juan Pulhin for facilitating the working
group on the Conference Declaration with support from Rowena Soriaga, and Hartmut Holznecht for
facilitating the working group to identify follow up actions.
The editorial team for these proceedings included: Robert Oberndorf, Sango Mahanty, Kenneth
Burslem and Erica Lee of RECOFTC, and Regan Suzuki and Patrick Durst, FAO.
Last, but certainly not least, the conference would not have been possible without the generous
financial support of ITTO and the Netherlands Government (DGIS), for which the organizers express
their sincere gratitude.



of Commonly cited
Acronyms and Abbreviations


Annual allowable cut

Annual forest royalties
Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission
Community-Based Forest Management
Community forestry
Community Forest Management
Community Forest User Group
Centre Internationale dAppui an Developpement (Cameroon)
Center for International Forestry Research
Communal Tree Farming
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Viet Nam)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Philippines)
Department for International Development (UK)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate-General for International Cooperation (Netherlands)
Department of Forests (Viet Nam)
Executive Committee
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Federation of Community Forest User Groups
Forest Stewardship Council
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (German Development Agency)
Government of Nepal
International Institute of Environment and Development
International Tropical Timber Organisation
World Conservation Union
Mean annual increment
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Millennium Development Goals
Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (Nepal)
Ministry of Environment and Forests (Cameroon)
Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (Cameroon)
Nepal-Australia Community Resource Management and Livelihood Project
Nepalese Rupees
Non-timber forest product
Non-wood forest product
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific
Royal Government of Bhutan
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
State Forest Enterprise
Society of Filipino Foresters
Small and medium forest enterprise
Netherlands Development Organisation
Timber Corporation of Nepal
The Forests Dialogue
Tropical Forest Trust
Viet Nam dong
Worldwide Fund for Nature





3-6 October 2006
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

In consideration of the following:

The Millennium Development Goals aim, among others, to halve poverty by 2015 and
promote environmental stability.

Forests can greatly contribute to poverty reduction while providing environmental

services, considering their vast coverage, abundant resources, and the millions of people
depending on them for subsistence and survival.

Demands on forests and trees are increasing, with about 1.6 billion people relying heavily
on forest resources for their livelihoods.

Some 350 million of the worlds poorest people are heavily dependent on forests for their

In most forested areas, the biggest value and income opportunities come from timber
harvesting and wood processing.

Forest resources can generate substantial capital and spur economic growth but forest
wealth has generally not been shared equitably, especially with the rural poor and

Community management and protection responsibilities already provide services

which must be recognized in the form of government compensation or payment for
environmental services.

Policy, institutional, socio-economic, market, and technical barriers exist in many

countries, constraining the potential of forest management to reduce poverty.

Policies, laws and rules are rarely well implemented in a way that reduces poverty, due
to the lack of effective and efficient monitoring and control systems.

Adherence to sustainable forest management principles and practices is fundamental to

successful implementation of pro-poor programs and projects.

Community-based forestry is one of the key strategies in promoting sustainable forest

management and in reducing poverty in rural areas.

Timber is often out of poor peoples reach but, where rights and policy framework are
favorable, evidence is growing that small and medium forestry enterprises can reduce

New trends with respect to markets, technologies and institutions offer ample
opportunities for employment and generate income in rural areas.

There is a pressing need for the different stakeholders, including policy makers/decisionmakers, development and donor organizations, development practitioners, the private
sector, and local communities, to work collectively to enhance the contribution of forest
management and timber harvesting in poverty reduction, thereby contributing to the
overall achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.


Policy makers/Decision-makers to

Improve access to, and expand opportunities for management of forest resources by
the poor, by creating or reviewing policies that will enable local communities and
individual households to economically benefit from these resources, taking into account
traditional rights, knowledge systems and social values.


Simplify forest policies, laws and regulations on forest resource allocation, harvesting,
transporting, processing and marketing and benefit sharing and enforce them equitably.


Facilitate and promote formation and operation of community-based organizations and

ensure their empowerment and capacity building.


Institutionalize a comprehensive support system and incentives to promote the

development of community-based small and medium scale wood-based enterprises
supportive of poverty alleviation.


Integrate forest and natural resources into the countrys poverty reduction strategic


Develop policies on devolution of sustainable forest management practices to include

economic partnerships between communities/households and the private sector for
achieving poverty reduction objectives.


Develop and strengthen partnerships of local communities with civil society



Ensure regular monitoring and evaluation of policy implementation.


Forest-related development organizations and donors to


Support and monitor the formulation and implementation of forest policies, programs
and projects that will enable poor people to have access, control and benefits over
valuable timber resources in addition to other forest resources.


Develop and implement initiatives and methodologies that strengthen the rights,
capabilities and decision-making power by local communities to sustainably manage
forest resources and benefit from the commercial use of these resources.


Facilitate effective dialogue and participatory planning and agreement among

stakeholders (public sector, private sector, local communities) towards sustainable
forest management and poverty reduction.


Facilitate design of methodologies and local development processes that will ensure
that poor people will benefit most from sustainable forest management utilization and
high value forest resources, using a people-centered development approach which
promotes inclusion, equity, works in the context of the existing social, institutional
framework and builds on indigenous knowledge.


Ensure sustainability of development initiatives and benefits to the poor after project


Support and develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and research that assess
socio-economic impacts and document and analyze the contribution of forests in
poverty reduction.


Improve coordination between development and donor agents, and facilitate linkages
between the private sector, the public sector and local communities in order to ensure
their access to information and knowledge which promotes a pro-poor focus.


Promote pro-poor forest enterprise development which is market driven and pays
attention to poor peoples capacities and potentials (e.g. quick return silvo-pastoral
systems, simple technology).


Raise awareness of how to link enterprise/business development with livelihood

improvement processes which make sense to and are determined by the poor.


Private sector to

Contribute to the development and operation of small and medium forest enterprises
that will be of mutual benefit and at the same time support poverty reduction


Establish mutually beneficial partnerships (medium to long term) with local

communities/ households and associations to harness the social economic potentials of
sustainable forest management and utilization.


Apply appropriate technology, make investments in forest resource rehabilitation and

human resource development, and promote market access for the poor people to
benefit from forest harvesting and processing.


Improve their social responsibilities towards their own employees.

Local communities to

Establish meaningful partnerships with other stakeholders to sustainably manage forest

and forest enterprises and maximize benefits from their operations.


Institutionalize local mechanisms to ensure more equitable benefit sharing and gender
mainstreaming from responsible forest management and utilization.


Institute a sense of responsibility, accountability and transparency among local

community members to ensure that harvesting privileges and management of group
funds will not be misused.


Adopt business approaches to the management of their forest resources.


Ensure that the voices of women and other disadvantaged groups are represented in the
decision making and benefit-sharing.


Mobilize their natural and human resources to generate financial and other social


Play a more proactive role in the policy-making processes for forest management such
as land allocation, land use rights, forest product trades, etc.


Opening Statements
Welcome Speech by
Nguyen Ngoc Binh
Director-General, Department of Forestry
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development of Viet Nam
Esteemed Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

n behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of
Viet Nam, I would like to welcome all esteemed guests and participants who have converged
at this international conference on sustainable forest management for the sake of poverty
reduction, an important event held in Ho Ch Minh City, one of the biggest centers that is providing
services on processing, marketing and exporting agro-forest products and, thus, contributing to
poverty reduction in Viet Nam.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the mid-eighties of the last century, Viet Nam started the renewal Doi Moi. Under this
innovative policy, economic transformation has generated vigorous progress in poverty reduction.
The renewal has also enabled Viet Nam to integrate into various international initiatives and
processes toward sustainable forest management, nature conservation and sustainable development
in general. Numerous environment-related legal acts and national environmental programs/plans,
such as the Law on Forest Protection and Development 1991 and 2004, the Land Law 1993 and
2003, Environment Law 1994 and 2005, the National Strategy on Comprehensive Growth and
Poverty Reduction, the Agenda XXI of Viet Nam, and the National Action Program on Combating
Desertification. were launched during 1990-2000. These major efforts to protect the environment
in association with poverty reduction have demonstrated Viet Nams continuous determination to
protect land, water and forest as the most valuable natural assets that can contribute to improve
peoples livelihoods, mitigate natural disasters and control land degradation. Further, in 1990-2006,
Viet Nam has reconfirmed its commitment to pursue environment protection and poverty reduction
by putting its signature to a large number of international conventions and agreements on these
crucial issues.
Economic growth, as an important factor, can boost exports. The renewal policy has revitalized
private-sector development and fostered economic liberalization. The promotion of a rural credit
system has further encouraged the private sector to undertake various initiatives and attracted
long-term investments into agriculture and forestry.
According to the statistical data provided by the natural resource and environment sector, at
present, the land designated to forestry accounts for 14.7 million ha (the total forestry land is
planned to be expanded to 16.2 million ha by 2010), including 12.3 million ha of forested land. The
remainder is currently maintained for natural rehabilitation of forest. Vast areas of forestry land
are found in the Northern midlands and mountains (36%), and the North-central (21%) and Central
Highlands (21%).


Welcome Speech

In Viet Nam, the number of people who live inside or in the vicinity of forest is estimated at 2425 million, 3 million of which are customarily shifting cultivators (slash-and-burn cropping). The
livelihood of these people is still heavily dependent on forest as they are encroaching on forest
land for cropping or collecting non-timber forest products to make a living. Poverty and famine
prevailing in extensive forestry-designated areas is, among others, a major cause of deforestation
and deterioration of environment. Although several hunger-eradication and poverty-reduction
programs have been implemented in the last decades, and famine and poverty has been significantly
reduced, the rate of poverty remains rather high, especially amongst ethnic minorities and in
remote areas, where the opportunities for income diversification are few and far between. Though
economic growth has substantially contributed to poverty reduction, there are still many segments
of the population who do not benefit from forestry development programs/policies and farm-based
economy. Famine and poverty prevails mainly in mountain and remote rural areas due to the higher
natural population growth rate, the lack of infrastructure, as well as the scarcity of employment
opportunities. Giving priority to hunger-eradication and poverty-reduction programs along with
comprehensive rural development, therefore, proves to be an indispensable policy that has been
persistently followed by the Party and the Government of Viet Nam to wipe out poverty, promote
sustainable economic growth and, as a result, improve forest management and environmental
Thanks to the great efforts of the enterprises, the forest product processing has achieved very
promising results. During the last three years, there is a significant growth in export value, from
US$ 1 million in 2004, to US$ 1.57 million in 2005, and for this year it is estimated to reach US$ 2
million. This makes forest owners and local people living in forest areas very happy and contributes
to the poverty reduction process.
We are all aware of the tremendous value of forests in terms of the indispensable services they can
provide to the entire society and population, including downstream communities. However, the
direct benefits that the forest holders expect to earn is far below what they deserve to have.
In the past, our efforts to ensure proper forest management and proper environmental protection
relied much on administrative remedies and enforceable countermeasures to eliminate forest
devastation, rather than the introduction of efficient and innovative mechanisms to bring about
more benefit to the people who are living in or around forest.
Apparently, the income gap between urban and rural people would expand and, consequently, the
risk of environmental and natural resource depletion would become more severe if no proper focus
of investment is given to agriculture, forestry and integrated rural development. Furthermore, with
over 70% of the population living in rural areas, this risk can hamper and threaten the countrys
sustainable development down the road.
With deep awareness of these social implications of forests, the revised Law on Forest Protection
and Development 2004 and the new National Forestry Development Strategy have placed special
emphasis on maximizing the benefits that forests can provide to the people involved in forestry,
while maintaining optimal forest services for the public. This guiding principle is expected to be
achieved through improved investment in forest science and technology to increase the stock and
acreage of forest vegetation, the yields of both natural and plantation forests, raise wood and
non-wood forest products, speed up forestry land allocation to households and communities in
upland areas, intensify agro-forestry practice (for example, the 5 million ha reforestation program
and numerous internationally funded reforestation and poverty reduction projects), develop
infrastructure in the most remote and poorest upland communes (Program 135) and provide direct
assistance to the poorer ethnic minority households (Program 134).


Nguyen Ngoc Binh

With a package of policy tools, including that of forestry development, we do hope that poverty will
be diminished faster and the newly defined goal of the Government on poverty reduction will be
In brief, in Viet Nam forest management in association with poverty reduction is undertaken under
the following socio-economic conditions:

Viet Nam is a highly populated country with a high population growth rate and acute
population pressure on natural resources.
Peoples livelihood is amongst the major causes leading to deforestation and degradation
of natural resources, extension of marginalized land and, consequently, intensification of
natural calamities in many regions of the country.
Viet Nam is still regarded as a developing country, which was severely affected by warfare.
The country is currently facing an under-developed infrastructure, economic stagnation,
a high rate of poverty and illiteracy in mountain and remote areas, and limited resources
needed for further development.
The Government of Viet Nam is steadily advocating for diversification of international
ties and speeding up international economic integration. This policy requires a positive
response and significant support from the donor community, especially in the field of
agriculture-forestry and environment protection.

The sustainable forest management program has been approved and piloted in all ecological zones
of the country. This program offers a good ground for forest-management and poverty-reduction
combined initiatives at the national level and calls for further technical and financial assistance
from bilateral and multi-lateral donors to reinforce Viet Nams efforts in sustainable forest
management and, therefore, contribute to regional and global processes toward environmental
protection and sustainable development.
On this occasion, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the bilateral and multilateral
organizations and NGOs for their valuable contribution to the promotion of sustainable forest
management in Viet Nam. Our thanks also to those who technically and financially sponsored and
co-organized this important event.
I wish you all good health and good success with our conference.
Thank you for your attention.



Statement by Emmanuel Ze Meka,

Assistant Director, Reforestation and Forest
Management, International Tropical Timber
Organization (ITTO), Yokohama, Japan

r Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Director General of Department of Forestry,

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am most privileged to take the floor at this important conference on Managing Forests for Poverty
Reduction. First of all, I would like to extend to you all the warm greetings of Dr Manoel Sobral
Filho, Executive Director of ITTO, as well as his best wishes for the success of this Conference.
I would also like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to the Government and the people
of Viet Nam for their warm hospitality and the nice facilities made available for this important
Poverty covers a wide range of considerations and perspectives, from the denial to meeting basic
human needs, namely food, clothing, shelter, education and health care to the denial of human
rights and opportunities. Despite its limitations, income poverty, which refers to limitations to
meet the basic needs, might be appropriate for our discussions during this meeting. It is estimated
that about 1.2 billion people, or about 20% of the world population live with less than US$ 1 per
day, which has been defined as the poverty line, although this definition does not reflect the whole
significance of poverty, as already mentioned. Poverty reduction/alleviation or eradication has been
high on the agenda of the international community for quite sometime now, with a peak in 2002
when the UN Millennium Development Goals were stated and the eradication of extreme poverty
and hunger identified as one of the Goals.
The majority of the poor live in the tropics where forest resources are abundant. Discussing this
apparent irony of the coexistence of abundant forest resources and rampant poverty is indeed
unavoidable. In spite of the recognition of the importance of poverty reduction, the various debates
surrounding it, and of some, but very limited, in number and in size, successful examples of forest
management contributing to poverty reduction, some of which will be presented and discussed
during this conference, the situation has not dramatically changed.
The question might then be raised whether the problem is tackled from an appropriate angle,
whether we are on the right track? Poverty is a complex issue which requires many lines of action.
However in connection with forest management, some strategic approaches may offer greater
opportunities and few can be mentioned here.
Sustainability is the corner stone of addressing poverty reduction, as any unsustainable result will
not solve the problem and may exacerbate the situation.
The economic potential of the forest should be maximized by taking into account all forest
resources. Forests can offer many goods and services, including timber, NTFP and ecological
services. An integrated approach to forest management, taking into consideration all these
resources will offer more opportunities and have a greater impact on poverty reduction.
The world of today is dominated by the free market approach, marked with an increased
displacement of funds, goods and human resources. The key word in this context is competitiveness,
which requires innovation, technology and trained personnel. Managing forests for poverty reduction
will need to take this context into account in building capacity among local communities in order
to allow them to be equipped and play an active role in this new environment. Failing to do so will
only restrict them to receive only crumbs of the proceeds of forest management. It is particularly


m nuel Ze Meka

essential that improved skills be provided in forest management, product development, production
of valued added products, marketing and business management.
For example, NTFPs can offer good opportunities for income generation in many countries, but their
contribution to poverty reduction is limited because most of them are collected from the wild, their
conservation and conditioning for the market is not appropriate and communities involved have
limited skills in marketing or in business management. Building local capacity and partnerships in
the selection, genetic improvement, and vegetative propagation of NTFPs, introducing appropriate
technologies in processing and conditioning, and providing training in business management,
including marketing, can greatly enhance the contribution of NTFPs to poverty reduction.
The local, national and international environments are to be supportive in order to allow the
opportunities offered by sustainable forest management to be captured for the benefit of the poor.
The poor is often the weakest player at the local and national levels: his/her political power is
limited or nonexistent and he/she has therefore limited influence on practices, laws, regulations
and the different procedures that affect his/her condition; his/her financial capability is also
limited as well as access to education and training. Although improved local organizations such as
associations and cooperatives can offset some of these shortcomings, it is essential that national
and local authorities create a supportive environment through reforms, in particular regarding
access to forest and financial resources, as well as to education and training. It is also imperative
that local communities be empowered and their organization strengthened, that negative practices
such as corruption be eliminated and good governance established.
The international environment has also to be supportive. First and foremost access to markets has
to be facilitated. Subsidies practiced by certain countries continue to detract the free market, as
well as the introduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers, thus denying access to forest products
produced by the poor. The successful marketing of forest products is essential to make effective the
contribution of forest management to poverty reduction/alleviation.
Access to appropriate technologies, in the form of technology transfer through cooperation, is also
a critical element. International aid agencies can play a critical role in this domain, as well as in
strengthening the organization of poor communities. Unprocessed forest resources have limited
impact in terms of employment and income generation.
The international community can also contribute to maximize the economic potential of forest and
thereby provide increased opportunities to contribute to poverty reduction. This can be achieved,
in particular, in facilitating the payment for environmental services through market and non-market
The establishment of these favorable environments, at local, national and international levels,
as well as the active involvement of capacitated and strengthened local communities in forest
management will certainly offer greater potential for the contribution of forest management to
poverty reduction.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Before I close, I would like, once more, to thank on behalf of ITTO, the Government of Viet Nam for
giving us the opportunity to discuss this pressing issue of managing forests for poverty reduction.
I also would like to recognize here and value the friendly cooperation that has been established
between ITTO, FAO, RECOFTC, SNV and the other partners to assist in the organization of this
important conference. I wish you every success in this important conference and sincerely hope that
it will make an effective contribution to poverty reduction.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.



Statement by Patrick B. Durst, Senior Forestry Officer,

Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations

r Nguyen Ngoc Binh, Director General of Department of Forestry,

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam,
Mr Chairman, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Its a great pleasure for me to be here this morning to offer a few remarks on behalf of the
international organizers of this important International Conference on Managing Forests
for Poverty Reduction. The international organizers include the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (which I work with), the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission,
the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), the Regional Community Forestry Training
Center, the Tropical Forest Trust, and the World Wide Fund for Nature. In addition, valuable
financial support has been provided by the International Tropical Timber Organization and
the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I think it should be evident to all of you that this
conference represents a truly outstanding example of collaboration and partnership, for which
Im personally very grateful.
The origins of this conference go back to discussions several of us had during an FAO-supported
workshop nearly two years ago, involving officials from Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam, who
are working to improve forest harvesting practices in those three countries. Participants in
that workshop, which took place in Vientiane, Laos, decided that it was important and timely
to highlight to policy makers, development organizations, and field practitioners that forest
harvesting can be far more than just large-scale, capital-intensive operations. We wanted to
create a forum for showcasing experiences and exploring opportunities for forest harvesting,
timber processing, and marketing of wood products that can meaningfully contribute to
reducing poverty.
From that small groups nugget of an idea, we were very pleasantly surprised at the
outpouring of support from other organizations for the concept, as well as for this conference
in particular.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you know, for the most of the past 150 years, commercial timber harvesting in Asia (as
well as most other parts of the world) has been the domain of governments and private
companiesusually big companies, employing gangs of chainsaw-wielding workers, fleets of
expensive trucks, and testosterone-charged bulldozers and skidders. When valuable timber
was at stake, local people were typically ignored or shut out of the planning and implementing
of logging operations. If they were involved at all, it was usually as wage laborers, hired to
help harvest the timber wealth, which was quickly hauled or floated away to urban areas
never to be seen again.
In recent years, governments and development organizations have attached great importance
to alleviating the plight of the worlds poor, as exemplified by the adoption of the Millennium
Development Goals. In the forestry sector, this has led to a raft of initiatives and projects,
most often focusing on non-timber forest products and payments for environmental services.


Patrick B. Durs
r t

But, in most forested areas, the biggest value and income opportunities come from timber
harvesting and wood processing. Its not really surprising that foresters and forestry have
traditionally focusedmany would say excessivelyon timber production: thats where the
real money from forests lies. So, if were truly serious about poverty reduction in rural
areas, shouldnt we be serious about giving poor people rights and access to valuable timber
Hopefully, youll have noticed that this conference intends to focus on conscious efforts to
manage forests and forest practices explicitly for the benefit of the poor. This implies the
need for new ways of looking at forests and forestry compared to the past.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On several occasions recently, Ive found myself quoting a well-known remark by the former
FAO Director of Forest Products, the late Jack Westoby. But, none of these occasions have
been quite as appropriate as at the outset of this conference.
Back in 1967, Jack Westoby addressed conferences in India and Portugal on the purpose of
forestry. Summarizing his conversations with innumerable foresters, Westoby noted:
Had I believed implicitly everything they told me, I would have been driven to the conclusion
that forestry is about trees. But this, of course, is quite wrong. Forestry is not about trees, it
is about people. And it is about trees only insofar as they serve the needs of people.
Forty years ago, when Westoby made those remarks, he was clearly at the forefront of a
revolution in forestry philosophy. This revolution has brought about tremendous advances
in forestryleading the profession toward a broader and holistic systems-based approach
including much more consideration of the needs of people living in and near the forests.
But, we still struggle with putting that forestry-is-about-people philosophy into practice
especially when it comes to giving local people direct access to valuable resources. In some
cases, foresters and others actively work to protect an outdated status quo; theres fear
that people with little formal education or expertise can manage forests sustainably; and, as
we all know, there are strong economic incentives for those currently in control to maintain
that control. In other cases, even where people have good intentions, a lack of imagination
sometimes constrains us from recognizing potential opportunities to alleviate poverty through
forestry. In still other instances, existing policies may inadvertently be discriminating against
small-scale producers and labor-intensive practices.
Despite all these obstacles, the conventional wisdom that bigger is always better in forestry
is slowly changing as new technologies (and re-discovered old technologies) for harvesting,
transport, and processing are increasingly making small-scale production an economically
viable proposition. Combined with these advances in technology, are new trends in marketing
and institutional development that offer exciting opportunities for generating income and
livelihoods in rural areas.
Its our intention that this conference provides opportunities to showcase state-of-theart knowledge and recent experiences of small-scale forest operations, labor-intensive
management practices and job creation through wood processing. We sincerely hope it
will open new pathways for integrating forest management with poverty reduction through
national forest programmes and other broad-based processes.
Ladies and gentlemen,



The importance of this topic is underscored by the wide range of institutions that have
collaborated in organizing this conference. FAO is delighted to join hands with a broad range
of national, regional and global organizations in bringing this conference to fruition.
I particularly want to acknowledge our local hosts, the Viet Nam Department of Forestry,
which has done a fabulous job in organizing the local arrangements.
I also want to highlight the outstanding efforts of the staff of SNV and RECOFTC, who worked
very closely with FAO to develop the conference program, identify presenters, and complete
the thousands of behind-the-scenes tasks required to make the conference a reality.
Its also been a pleasure to work once again with the International Tropical Timber
Organization, the Tropical Forest Trust, WWF, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
in organizing this conference. Their support and inputs have been vital to ensuring the
conferences success.
For all the international participantsespecially those of you who have not been to Viet Nam
beforeIm sure that by the end of the week youll come to understand why Viet Nam is so
famous for its hospitality, and also why this country is advancing so rapidlyincluding in the
field of forestry. The innovation, commitment, and dedication of the Vietnamese people
provide a source of inspiration andin many waysa role model for forestry development in
other countries.
Im personally very much looking forward to the conference discussions. We have an
impressive array of presenters and Im sure that well all find the discussions stimulating and
Thank you very much.



Managing Forests
for Poverty
Reduction: Key
Concepts and
Pernille Hansen
Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations (FAO)
Patrick Durst
Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations (Fao)
Sango Mahanty
Regional Community Forestry Training
Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC)
Arthur Ebregt
Netherlands Development Organisation

chapter 1


he Millennium Development Goals agreed by 189 nations at the United Nations

Millennium Summit in 2000 call for the eradication of extreme poverty, while
simultaneously ensuring environmental sustainability. Since a large proportion of the
worlds poor remain heavily dependent on forest resources, there is a clear need to explore
new prospects for the worlds forest-dependent communities. New strategies and approaches
are needed to give opportunities for the poor to benefit from forests in ways that complement
or substitute for existing livelihood strategies.
In recent years, forest-based poverty reduction strategies have largely focused on enterprises
that process and market non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Substantially less emphasis has
been given to the more complex and risky, but potentially much more lucrative, aspects of
timber harvesting and processing.
In most forests, timber is commercially the most valuable resource. Globally, timber provides
raw materials and employment for millions of people. But timber harvesting and processing
are seldom considered at the forefront in strategies to alleviate rural poverty. There are
several reasons for this. Firstly, modern timber harvesting and processing have evolved to
be highly capital-, skill- and technology-intensive operations, effectively precluding those
without ready access to capital and technology and those with limited skills. Secondly, the
large potential profits to be earned from the timber have led to the sector being dominated
by powerful and elite individuals and corporations, characterized in many areas by opaque
transactions and shadowy or illegal activities. The poor are also often constrained from the
timber sector by policies and regulations that hinder access of the poor to timber resources
and their active involvement in managing timber enterprises.
A widespread assumption by policy makers is that allowing the poor to access and use forests
will result in forest degradation or destruction (Scherr et al. 2004). Consequently, forestdependent poor have been first in the line of fire for restrictive and punitive government
measures on forest use. Given that the use of forest products by rural communities is often a
livelihood strategy of last resort (Byron 2006), such policies effectively undermine poverty
reduction strategies and exacerbate existing conditions of poverty. Not surprisingly, therefore,
only limited numbers of poor forest dwellers are currently benefiting substantially from
timber harvesting and wood processing. However, examples of sustainable forest management
consciously oriented toward achieving poverty reduction objectives are increasingly beginning
to emerge.
To help assess experiences and explore new initiatives, the International Conference on
Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction: Capturing Opportunities in Forest Harvesting and
Wood Processing for the Benefit of the Poor was convened 3-6 October 2006, in Ho Chi Minh
City, Viet Nam. The conference specifically aimed to draw out recent experiences on pro-poor
forest harvesting and processing, and to develop strategies for further enhancing the effective
involvement of the poor in these activities.

Key concepts
The poverty reduction objective
Poverty is commonly defined as pronounced deprivation in well being, in terms of material
deprivation (in income and consumption), lack of education and health services, vulnerability
and exposure to risk, lack of opportunity to be heard, and powerlessness (World Bank 2000).

Hansen et al.l

This definition highlights the multiple dimensions of poverty, the alleviation of which calls
for a multi-dimensional approach. Poverty alleviation encompasses two discrete meanings,
namely poverty mitigation and poverty reduction. Poverty mitigation implies that people
are prevented from becoming poorer whereas poverty reduction describes a situation where
people are being lifted out of poverty (Angelsen and Wunder 2003). It is necessary to recognize
that these terms articulate different meanings and hence implications for the poor, and that
the goals encompassed in the MDGs relate specifically to poverty reduction.

The role of timber in poverty reduction

The contribution of forests to poor peoples livelihoods is largely unrecorded in national
statistics because the use of forest products for subsistence and local trade is difficult to
track and measure. According to FAO (2003) there are three ways in which forests contribute
to poverty reduction: i) by providing the forest resources that are important for maintaining
well-being (e.g. medicinal plants, food resources, erosion control); ii) through continued
access to forest resources and rents (e.g. access rights, income from forest products); and iii)
by increasing forest production values (e.g. payment for environmental services, recreational
Timber harvesting, processing and marketing (i.e. the timber value chain) are generally not
activities that explicitly target poverty reduction for a range of reasons. Barriers that restrict
access to forest resources, such as lack of secure, long-term tenure and gaps in knowledge
and technology, make it difficult for the poor to be in the driving seat of commercial timber
exploitation. More often, the poor provide cheap labor for forest operations managed by the
state or large commercial ventures. However, initiatives involving forest-dependent poor are
beginning to emerge that can provide important insights into the opportunities and challenges
faced by the poor in their attempts to benefit from commercial timber operations.
Commercial forestry offers opportunities to address, in various ways, each of the five aspects
of poverty identified by the World Bank. Material deprivation can be addressed directly by
increasing income through improved access to timber harvesting and processing activities. This
requires increased involvement of forest-dependent poor in the timber-value chain. Increased
income at the household or community level can in turn improve access to educational and
health services, which enhance economic opportunities and well-being, as well as reducing
vulnerability in the face of rapid social change and environmental stresses such as drought
or flooding. Additionally, participatory processes that support poor peoples involvement in
decision-making related to the management and utilization of forests and commercial forestry
operations help to foster greater political empowerment and opportunities for marginalized
voices to be heard more broadly. However, to date, many of these potential avenues are
largely unexplored and more research is needed to understand how and to what extent they
might be realized.
While conventional approaches to commercial forestry operations focus on capital- and
technology-intensive enterprises, forestry undertaken for, and by, the rural poor presents
unique environmental and social benefits.

Conference themes

he International Conference on Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction discussed

opportunities for, and constraints to, managing forests and processing wood for poverty
reduction. Five important aspects of forest harvesting and wood processing were

chapter 1

highlighted in the Conference themes and elaborated by the two keynote speakers (Chapters 2
and 3):

policies and legislation;

economic aspects;

forest management modalities and institutional issues;

technical aspects; and

market access.

Policies and legislation

Policies and legislation provide the essential foundation of rules and regulations that guide
sound forest harvesting and management practices. The forestry sector in many countries is
constrained by weaknesses in the legal framework, including poor enforcement of laws and
regulations, for reasons ranging from lack of capacity and resources to outright corruption.
Illegal logging undermines opportunities for sustainable, pro-poor forest management by
channeling cheap timber into the market that legitimate enterprises (both large and small) are
unable to compete with. Policies also sometimes designate preferential subsidies and access
rights to large-scale operations, further disadvantaging small-scale forestry operations.
Discriminatory rules and regulations present a fundamental challenge to small-scale
commercial forestry. Even though most laws and regulations were not intended to be
exclusionary, many were formulated to address large-scale forestry operations and too
complex and demanding for small-scale operators. Small-scale forestry operations often
involve people with sound forest-related skills, but without the specific expertise needed
to negotiate the complex rules and regulations prescribed for harvesting and processing of
forest products. Pulhin and Dugan (Chapter 5) describe these constraints in detail, including
the need for poor rural communities in the Philippines to hire costly professional foresters
to assist in preparing complex forest management plans in order to gain approval to harvest
even small volumes of timber under the countrys Community-Based Forestry Management
Program. Some initiatives are succeeding in breaking through these barriers, however. Cuny
et al. (Chapter 4), for example, describe how a community forestry approach is contributing
to the socio-economic development of a community in Cameroon despite major challenges in
Given the risks and long timeframes associated with timber production, and the insecurity
of access to resources for many rural people, the success rate for small-scale forest-based
enterprises is, not surprisingly, low. Sound forest management that shares benefits with the
rural poor requires policies and legislation in many countries to be revised to better reflect
the realities on the ground. A key area of action emerging from the conference was the need
to make policy-development processes more transparent to ensure greater representation of
marginalized groups, including the rural poor.

Economic issues
There are substantial revenues to be made from timber, but economies of scale often favor
large-scale commercial enterprises. For poverty reduction purposes, it is important to explore
the conditions under which small-scale forest enterprises can be truly competitive in forest
product markets. For example, products with prospects for growth in demand in local,
national or international markets, or niche products with a limited number of producers,
may offer the best potential for success for small-scale enterprises (Scherr et al. 2004). In
all cases, sound analyses and feasibility studies are essential in order to avoid misdirected
investment. Kelly and Aryal (Chapter 8) elaborate on the importance of good market

Hansen et al.l

information and feasibility analysis (over the market value chain) in their case study describing
the experiences of two sawmills in Nepal that suffered large losses due to a inadequate
feasibility assessment before entering the market. The sawn timber they produced exceeded
market demand, resulting in far lower financial returns than anticipated.
It is possible, however, for small-scale producers to take advantage of knowledge about local
markets and their proximity to local consumers. There are also opportunities for small-scale
producers to capture more of the timber value chain through added processing, for example,
through on-site wood processing.
At the village level, community forestry user groups have played an important role in
collective forest management. Chand and Ghimire (Chapter 7) reveal how community forestry
user groups can, with support and mentoring, broaden their mandate to include business
management. Their case study describes the experience of a community forest user group in
Nepal that has earned more than US$ 24,000 from their pine plantation to date, with income
steadily increasing over the last four years.

Forest management modalities and institutional issues

Local-level rules can play a crucial role in achieving pro-poor development in forestry, as
highlighted in the case of Bhutan by Temphel and Beukeboom (Chapter 11). The impact of
policies and regulations at the local level is shaped not only by their implementation and
enforcement, but also by the ways in which target groups respond to them (Tyler and Mallee
2006). Hence, outcomes of policy implementation often rest squarely on local conditions and
are subject to influence from a range of actors, including local government, communities,
NGOs, private enterprises and individuals, who all interpret and implement rules and
regulations according to their specific context and interests.
Poor people often face barriers to full participation in decision-making processes, such as
community meetings, if they are not specifically targeted and supported. Moreover, benefits
that accrue from community activities are often unequally shared, based on factors such as
gender, age, social status or ethnicity (Mahanty et al. 2006). The paper by Acharya (Chapter
10) highlights the fact that approaches that target and prioritize marginalized groups through
appropriate institutional arrangements, such as through preferential membership or access to
shares in enterprises, have shown some success in addressing this constraint.
Vickers and Mackenzie (Chapter 12) address the issue of pro-poor benefit sharing and
participation in describing a case from Viet Nam. They elaborate how the decisions
surrounding institutional arrangements for a community forest timber harvesting scheme are
dominated by rich men in the village who also capture most of the benefits. In other cases,
institutional mechanisms to protect the interests of the poor have been more successful
and there is greater focus on equitable sharing of benefits (see for example Bampton and
Cammaert (Chapter 9) and Bao Huy (Chapter 6). Some of the best results for delivering
benefits to the poor seem to be through affirmative action that gives preferential support to
disadvantaged groups and other similar pro-poor policy mechanisms.

Technical aspects
Large-scale commercial forest enterprises have advantages in accessing financial and technical
resources and the ability to establish economies of scale. In contrast, small-scale enterprises
often have advantages related to low-cost labor inputs and the potential to react quickly to
changing market conditions. However, the influx of harvesting technologies without capacity
building, good planning and compliance with sustainable practices can equally threaten the
sustainability of both forests and local enterprises. In the case of chainsaw milling in Ghana,

chapter 1

Pinard et al. (Chapter 14) find that the poor are easily able to procure chainsaws in spite
of a ban on chainsaw milling. Since the benefits from authorized large-scale logging do not
accrue to the poor, there is widespread support among poor households for chainsaw milling
despite its illegality and high levels of waste. Supplementing the introduction of improved
technologies, with improved planning and better compliance with sustainable practices, could
increase benefits to the poor, while enhancing the sustainability of operations, a point also
supported in the PNG case by Akivi (Chapter 15).
In addition to appropriate equipment for logging and milling, physical access to markets also
plays a vital role in delivering benefits to small-scale forestry. Poor people living in remote
areas are often impeded in gaining access to markets because the modes of transportation are
few and infrastructure is poor. Mohns (Chapter 13) explores methods of transporting bamboo in
Laos where access to markets from remote forest areas is constrained by lack of roads or skid
trails. Horse skidding and bamboo rafting on rivers both offer good prospects for expanding
markets. Such approaches illustrate how traditional technologies can be effectively adapted to
address modern challenges.
Appropriate and sustainable technologies and affordable equipment do exist, but they need
to be applied in appropriate ways that fit the scale and capacities of small-scale producers.
Where production technologies are locally adapted and properly applied, adoption risks are
minimized, and maintenance costs are reduced.

Accessing markets
Marsh and Smith (Chapter 20) highlight how good market knowledge and access can help to
identify emerging opportunities for small scale producers. This is, however, a key challenge for
small-scale enterprises that typically lack the experience and ability in gathering information
about market conditions. Despite these obstacles, several successful experiences of smallscale enterprises can be found. Demonstrating that such challenges and solutions are not
unique to developing countries, Birkemeier (Chapter 16) highlights how a small-scale, family
forestry enterprise in a rural community in the United States achieved success by developing a
strong business focus and by controlling the entire value chain from small-scale harvesting all
the way to installing custom flooring and cabinets in the homes of the end consumers.
Landis (Chapter 17) complements this vision, by describing the success of a training program
for artisans, introducing old-world technology in Honduras. From the outset there was a
focus on local demand and low-cost technologies. These pragmatic approaches have helped
to effectively involve local artisans. Moreover, a thorough assessment of market opportunities
before establishing the business was a crucial element of success.
The formation of associations can also help leverage advantages of scale, pool market
information and improve bargaining power and operational conditions. By pooling
resources and product outputs, such associations are better able to compete with largescale commercial operations for market access and share. The combined strength of such
associations can also help overcome bureaucratic constraints, reduce transaction costs of
legal compliance, and enhance the ability to collect market information. Macqueen (Chapter
18) highlights how associations can challenge the power of middlemen and obtain better
returns for their products. In a case from Indonesia, Barr (Chapter 19) further illustrates how
the formation of a community cooperative helped to reduce the transaction costs in timber
certification, and obtain Forest Stewardship Council group certification less than two years
after its establishment.

Hansen et al.l

Conference outcomes

t is evident that small-scale, forest-based enterprises can be important players in

sustainable forest management, while simultaneously increasing benefits to a wide range
of beneficiaries. The conference presentations and discussions underscored that forests can
contribute to poverty reduction if:

forest resources are sustained;

resources and rents are made accessible and distributed equitably; and

forest production values can be increased.

Related to the first condition, it is evident that illegal logging and unsustainable management
practices are responsible for the loss of forest resources and the deflation of timber prices
in many areas. If sound forest management principles are applied and harvesting volumes
do not exceed allowable cuts, then forest resources can be sustainably managed. Long-term
perspectives and planning on the part of forest enterprises play important roles in sustainable
harvesting and maintenance of a healthy forest resource base.
The second condition requires the development of policies and regulations that guarantee and
simplify access to forest resources by the rural poor and support their effective involvement
in wood-processing enterprises. Instead of making forest resources available only to large,
well-connected enterprises, the rural poor should be granted ready access to forests through
clearly defined, well-supported and fully protected rights together with the responsibility to
plan and effectively manage these forests. With a stronger focus on pro-poor forest policies,
both poverty reduction and sustainable forestry are made more likely.
The third condition calls for changes in how we value the products provided by forests.
Greater emphasis needs to be placed on value-adding processes that maximize the benefits
from timber that is derived from forests. With support in making market linkages, small-scale
producers have been successful in efficiently processing wood into higher value products
and targeting high-value markets. The rural poor will also likely realize increased benefits
when there is greater appreciation and recognition of the full range of benefits from forests,
including non-timber forest products, biodiversity, clear water, carbon sequestration,
ecotourism and other values.
The potential for local forest management to contribute toward poverty reduction objectives
warrants further exploration. Small-scale logging techniques, using appropriate laborintensive technologies, can result in far less environmental impacts than those of largescale forest operations. One area that would benefit from further exploration is that of
opportunities for small-scale forest enterprises to develop partnerships with large-scale
commercial entities, capitalizing on the comparative advantages of both. Small-scale
producers often have access to labor and (in some cases) control of the land and resources,
whereas larger enterprises usually have greater access to capital, skills, technologies and
markets (Angelsen and Wunder 2003). There would appear to be considerable scope for
melding the strengths of these two groups.
The International Conference on Managing Forests for Poverty Reduction concluded that it
is timely to build constructive linkages among the various stakeholders involved in forestry
and poverty reduction. Mutually beneficial partnerships among local communities, policy
makers, the private sector, development organizations and donors are essential to accelerate
progress in managing forests for poverty reduction and enhancement of environmental
sustainability. The conference declaration (page x), adopted by all participants, emphasizes
these opportunities.

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The chapters that follow discuss in detail the opportunities and constraints related to
forest harvesting and wood processing purposefully oriented to benefit the poor. Individual
papers provide valuable insights into numerous pioneering initiatives from around the world.
Collectively, they underscore the daunting challenges of these approaches. At the same
time, however, they provide cause for optimism. Experience indicates that if constraints and
challenges are addressed effectively, there is good potential for managing forests and forest
enterprises in ways that positively contribute toward poverty reduction objectives, while
simultaneously safeguarding the environment, empowering the poor, building capacity, and
fostering entrepreneurship.

Angelsen, A. and S. Wunder, 2003. Exploring the forest poverty link: key concepts, issues
and research implications. CIFOR Occasional Paper No. 40. Center for International
Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia.
Byron, N, 2006. Challenges in defining, implementing and renewing forest policies. Unasylva
223(57): 10-15.
FAO, 2003. State of the Worlds Forests 2003. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, Rome.
FAO, 2005. Microfinance and forest-based small-scale enterprises. FAO Forestry Paper 146.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
de Haan, A, 2001. Social exclusion: enriching the understanding and deprivation. Paper
prepared for the World Development Report (2001) Forum on Inclusion, Justice and
Poverty Reduction.
Mahanty, S., J. Gronow, M. Nurse, and Y. Malla, 2006. Reducing poverty through communitybased forest management in Asia. Journal of Forest and Livelihood 5(1): 78-89.
Mayers, J. and S. Bass, 1998. The role of policy and institutions. In F.B. Goldsmith (ed.),
Tropical rain forest: a wider perspective. Chapman & Hall, London: 269-302.
Scherr, S.J., A. White and D. Kaimowitz, 2004. A new agenda for forest conservation and
poverty reduction: making markets work for low-income producers. Forest Trends,
Washington, D.C.
Tyler, S.R. and H. Mallee, 2006. Shaping policy from the field. In Tyler, S.R. (ed.),
Communities,livelihoods and natural resources: action research and policy change in
Asia. ITDG Publishing/IDRC, Ottawa, Canada: 347-372.
World Bank, 2000. World development report 2000/2001: attacking poverty. Oxford University
Press, New York.